6257  Leading with the heart and the core

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Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 11:56:05 -0700
From: David Thorn <thorn-inside@hotmail.com>
Subject: [Tango-L] Leading with the heart and the core
To: tango-l <tango-l@mit.edu>


I said to "lead with the heart and the core" in my last post with considerable deliberation, because that is what I do, or try to do, always. Yes, you are connected through the hands and arms, but they, as well as the chest, are merely extensions of your core, and of your heart, which is where you generate the care, the compassion, and the joy in the music that you must transmit to your partner.

A relevant example of this is the lead of an under arm turn. I do not lead this with my arm. The arm exerts absolutely no, zero, force. An underarm turn is done with a very light finger-tip to finger-tip connection. The real lead comes from the set-up of the turn (the 'pre-lead') and from my invitation. It comes from the space I create for my partner to move into, the space that I block motion into, where I position my body throughout the turn, and where I position it to receive the turn. The lead may even include my smile and the path of my gaze. Does my right hand invite her back to move into it? Does my frame invite a chest-to-chest "reconnection"? All of that is part of the lead of an under arm turn. And if she rejects, or simply doesn't get, any of this, I follow her and we do something else. No big deal. But not with the arms.

As to the use of the term "traditional tango", it is not I who have observed that there is nothing new about "nuevo tango", but rather many have commented on this. I simply try to dance tango with all of it's richness of connection, invention and musical interpretation, which is, I believe, strongly in the tradition of tango. I don't dance "nuevo", I don't dance "milonguero", but I try to dance inventivly and respectfully in the tradition of tango. So yes, I think that I dance "traditional", even if it may not always look like it to your eye.

And I am indeed a romantic. Otherwise, how could I dance tango?

David

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Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2009 20:30:39 +1100
From: Myk Dowling <politas@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Tango-L] Leading with the heart and the core
To: Tango-L <tango-l@mit.edu>

David Thorn wrote:
> A "non-arm" pickup can be executed by my matching her turn rate and

> stepping directly in with an on-body pickup. Yes, my arms encircle her
> at the same time, but the required arm pressure is no more than is found
> in many an orco cortado executed with energy (Susanna Miller refers to
> this as "the lady gets to fly" and considers it a good and a fun thing.)

Thank you for proving my point. "The _required_ arm pressure".

> Rock'n'roll dances (which I never do!), yes. Lindy, sometimes. Good
> balboa, no. Even though in Lindy, and to a lesser extent in Balboa, the
> connection may be carried through the arms, the lead nearly always comes
> from the core and NOT the arms. Even most close embrace tango dancers
> hold each other with their arms when they are actually dancing (as
> opposed to practicing) and thus a part of the connection is through the
> hands and arms.

Which is what I'm saying! The chest is the root of all leads. The arms
assist in communicating the intention. Personally I quite dislike the
term "the lead comes from the core". It has no intrinsic meaning in
everyday language. Everyone interprets it differently. Some people take
it to the extreme and think it means that the arms are completely
irrelevant. Others seem to take a metaphysical meaning and use their
arms a lot while claiming that their lead is "from the heart".

> > So you use your arms for _maintaining the connection_!
>
> No. Maintaining contact. The "connection" in the sense of any pressure
> is gone. It is to let the follow know where I am at so that she can
> manage her own turn, but NOT so that I can control, guide or direct her
> turn in the least.

And so we fail again in communicating while using what we think are the
same terms. I don't consider "connection" to imply control. I think
connection is what makes it dancing together rather than dancing near
someone. Although if you are doing it so that she can "manage" her turn,
isn't that guiding her turn?

> Country-western, salsa, rock and roll, etc - arm leads. The true swing
> dances, body leads.

I don't believe there's a simple cut-off. It's not a binary position.
There's a range of varying amounts of both arm and body usage. Some
dances use a lot of one and very little of the other, while others use a
closer mix of the two.

Nuevo seems to use more arms than "traditional" tango (where
"traditional" means the common forms of social tango which are
definitely "not nuevo"). That doesn't mean that nuevo is like salsa or
rock and roll. It's still definitely tango.

Myk,
in Canberra



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